Enabling Multi-Factor Authentication on Your AWS Account

Lab Steps

Logging in to the Amazon Web Services Console
Understanding AWS Trusted Advisor
Following Security Group Best Practices
Following Identity and Access Management Best Practices
Enabling Multi-Factor Authentication on Your AWS Account
Following Snapshot Best Practices
Following Service Limits Best Practices
Need help? Contact our support team

Here you can find the instructions for this specific Lab Step.

If you are ready for a real environment experience please start the Lab. Keep in mind that you'll need to start from the first step.


AWS allows you to improve IAM security by enabling multi-factor authentication (MFA). Enabling MFA requires an additional code to be entered when accessing AWS services. Two forms are supported:

  • Security token-based: A security token is sent to a physical or virtual MFA device
  • SMS text message-based: A code is sent to an SMS-compatible mobile device

Only security token-based MFA is allowed for the root account. This lab step will walk through setting up security token-based MFA using a virtual device. 

Note: You will need to install an MFA application on your mobile device to complete this Lab Step. If you prefer not to install an MFA application, you can skip the Lab Step or only read the instructions



1. Install a compatible virtual MFA application on your mobile device.

Amazon provides a list of applications for a variety of device types on their multi-factor authentication page in the Virtual MFA Applications section. The page provides links to installation instructions.


2. In the Management Console, in the search bar at the top, enter IAM, and click the IAM result under Services:


alt Warning! You will see error messages on this page and following IAM pages. This is normal. You only have the permissions required to complete the Lab.


3. Click Users in the left navigation panel.


4. Click on the student user and select the Security credentials tab:



5. Click on Assign MFA device.


6. Enter student under Name, ensure Virtual MFA device is selected, and click Continue:



7. Click Show QR code to reveal the QR code:


Scan the QR code with your virtual MFA application if it is supported. Otherwise, click Show secret key for manual configuration.


8. Follow the instructions in your virtual MFA application to configure the application.


9. Enter the code the application gives you in MFA code 1 of the Set up virtual MFA device dialog and wait until you have a second code in your virtual MFA application.


10. Enter the second code from the application into MFA code 2.


11. Click Assign MFA.

The virtual MFA device is now ready for use with AWS.


12. Click Close to the confirmation dialog box:



13. Try out the MFA by clicking on student on the right side of the top navigation bar and selecting Sign Out:



14. Click Log back in on the AWS Management Console homepage.


15. Enter the User Name and Password in the Your lab data section of this lab and click Sign In.


16. On your virtual MFA device, generate a new code in the virtual MFA application and enter it into the MFA Code and click Submit:




In this lab step, you enabled MFA on your account using security token-based MFA. You used an MFA application on your virtual MFA device. You also tested the MFA by signing into the AWS Management Console using an MFA code.